New Brunswick

More collisions, but fewer injuries at Fredericton roundabout

More collisions happened at the Smythe Street roundabout than in any other place in Fredericton last year, but it is not the most dangerous spot.

Crashes at high-speed Ring Road intersections more likely to cause injury

There were 21 accidents at the Smythe Street roundabout in 2018, and one injury as a result. (CBC)

More collisions happened at the Smythe Street roundabout than in any other place in Fredericton last year, but it is not the most dangerous spot.

That title could easily go to the Ring Road and Brookside Drive intersection.

Jon Lewis, Fredericton city traffic engineer, said that in 2018, the roundabout had the highest number of collisions at 21, but only one person was injured.

At the Ring Road and Brookside Drive intersections, there were seven accidents, and seven people were injured.

"At Ring Road and Brookside, there are high speeds," he said. "There could have been multiple people injured in a single collision so it's not necessarily that every collision had injuries, although I believe most of them [did]."

Roundabout accidents are less severe because speed is lower, and collisions are usually side-swipes and not vehicles hitting each other head-on. (CBC)

The second-highest number of collisions happened at Ring Road and Maple, with 20, followed by Smythe and Prospect with 14, Regent and the Regent Mall entrance with 12 and Regent and Arnold with 11.

Lewis said the number of collisions causing injuries has gone down in the last few years, but the number of collisions has remained steady.

The second highest number of people injured occurred in accidents at Regent Street and Regent Mall entrance with three, Regent and Costco entrance with three, and Hanwell and Prospect with three.

These are some of Fredericton’s most dangerous intersections with the highest amount of collisions. Which others would you add to the list? 1:19

Different severity

Lewis said the numbers show that the Smythe Street roundabout's accident-to-injury ratio is a good sign.

"Generally those are very low severity given the design of the roundabout," Lewis told Information Morning Fredericton. "Kind of your typical sideswipe collision."

But in an intersection, accidents are more likely to be more severe because of T-bone collisions and high-speed red-light runners.

Intersections at Ring Road may be dangerous if people run red lights at high speeds. (Myfanwy Davies / CBC)

At these intersections, "A left turner is misjudging a gap, for example, when they're trying to turn left against opposing traffic," Lewis said.

"It's also common that people are rear ending other drivers while making right turns."

He said drivers running red light, especially at high-speed intersections such as the one at Ring Road, are not rare.

"When collisions do happen they tend to be of a higher severity given the speed involved," he said. "The kind of T-bone type [accidents] would likely be reduced if we saw less people running red lights."

What the city can do

Lewis said the city is looking at options to reduce accidents, such as creating more roundabouts, educating drivers and increasing enforcement by using red-light cameras, for example.

"I'm not a fan of just having red-light cameras everywhere, but where they show that there's a problem, from the data, that it could potentially address that."

Two fatalities

Lewis said there were two fatalities last year, one at the Hanwell Road and Prospect Street and one at Ring Road near Royal Road.

He said accidents are prompting city officials to consider making changes to the Hanwell and Prospect intersection, similar to the ones at the intersection of Regent and Prospect streets.

"We're looking at what we can do to upgrade," he said.

Regent and Prospect used to be one of the most dangerous intersections, but two years ago the city added a left-turn-at-signal lane and right-turn islands that reduced the number of collisions by more than half, Lewis said.

Not a full picture

Lewis noted that the statistics kept by the City of Fredericton only include collisions that were reported to police or caused more than $1,000 damage. That's why the numbers he can provide may not tell the full story of collisions or accidents in the city, but they definitely include the severe ones involving police.

"It's very well possible that there was, you know, even smaller, a little scuffs, and that type of thing that never would have got reported," he said.


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